"The growing market for rubber is a major, but largely overlooked, cause of tropical deforestation, new analysis shows. Most of the rubber goes to produce tires, more than 2 billion a year, and experts warn the transition to electric vehicles could accelerate rubber use."
"The elephants are gone. The trees are logged out. The Beng Per Wildlife Sanctuary in central Cambodia is largely destroyed, after being handed over by the government to a politically well-connected local plantation company to grow rubber.
In West Africa, the Luxembourg-based plantations giant Socfin has been accused in recent weeks of deforestation and displacing Indigenous people around its rubber plantations in Nigeria and Ghana.
Meanwhile, on the heavily deforested Indonesian island of Sumatra, tire multinational Michelin and a local forestry company raised $95 million worth of green investment bonds on the promise that they would reforest bare land with rubber trees. But the NGO Mighty Earth has found that much of the plantation went ahead on land from which natural forest had been removed as recently as a few months before by a subsidiary of the local company.
These are just three examples among hundreds of one of the biggest, but least discussed, causes of tropical deforestation. The spread of rubber plantations is driven primarily by our demand for more than 2 billion new tires each year. The full devastating impact of this has been exposed by a new analysis of high-resolution satellite images that can, for the first time, distinguish rubber plantations from natural forests."